In March, there was one job opening for each unemployed Minnesotan

A month ago, there were more jobs open in Midwest than there were unemployed workers to fill them. “Midwest” might be a slightly awkward geographic entity to analyze but you have to go with the data you have. Fortunately, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) allows us to dig a little deeper.

Last week, the BLS released Experimental State Estimates from their Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It showed that there were 130,000 job openings in Minnesota in March, up from 88,000 last April. While that April 2020 figure was the lowest since February 2014, that March 2021 figure was higher than for any month since January 2020. Minnesota’s businesses are keen to hire.

This is good news for the state’s workers. Data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows that, in March, there were 134,554 Minnesotans unemployed. As I’ve explained before, this means those who are out of work and looking. In other words, there are 1.0 jobs available for each unemployed worker in Minnesota.

This is a huge turnaround since the labor market’s trough in spring 2020. From February to April last year the number of Minnesotans employed fell by 279,948, the number unemployed rose by 161,087 (the unemployment rate went from 3.6 to 9.1 percent), and the number of Minnesotans either unemployed or not in the labor force at all rose by 281,525, to 38.7 percent of the civilian, non-institutional population. In April 2020, as Figure 1 shows, there were 3.7 unemployed Minnesotans to each job opening.

Figure 1: Unemployed Minnesotans per job opening

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Center of the American Experiment

This is good news, clearly, and makes the case, yet again, for and ending of federal unemployment “enhancements.”